As part of a larger traffic redirection project, last night the Board of Trustees voted on a proposed stoplight at 95th Street & 50th Court.
Traffic flow from the Metra parking garage has regularly been a complaint from neighbors to the south of the structure. In the evening hours, heavy traffic is seen on 52nd Avenue, as vehicles travel through the residential area to points beyond. Residents along 52nd Avenue and 99th Street in particular complain of cars racing south.
The assumption is that these cars are not local residents racing to their homes in the neighborhood. The common view appears to be that these drivers are attempting to avoid traffic on Cicero, Central, and Ridgeland Avenues.
The plan is to reroute traffic from the Metra parking garage, in order to divert evening rush hour traffic away from 52nd Avenue, instead forcing it to 95th Street via 50th Court. The idea is that if drivers are forced to 95th and east nearly to Cicero, they’ll choose a route down nearby Cicero Avenue or take 95th all the way to Central or Ridgeland Avenues, bypassing local neighborhood streets.
The stoplight at 95th Street & 50th Court is the first step of this plan. Village Manager Larry Deetjen offered a presentation to the Board of Trustees on the plan during the September 8th Village Board meeting. The plan was presented prior to the vote on the stoplight project. Only the stoplight proposal was voted on, however. The larger plan has not been finalized.
According to the preliminary plans, the current 51st Avenue will be removed. The building at 95th Street & 50th Court will be demolished to make way for the new “Connector Drive” which will stretch from 50th Court approximately to the current Museum Drive. This will take the new street through what is now an alley. The new “Connector Drive” would be a two-way street.
The original vision for the parking garage had a stoplight at the intersection of 95th Street & 51st Avenue. But due to the proximity to the railroad tracks, the Village was forced to abandon that plan.
Some residents have expressed concern that the new traffic plan will be pointless if cars are still allowed to exit to the west through the access road north of the Beatty Lumber site. Forcing traffic to only flow eastward when exiting the parking structure could solve that problem. Southbound traffic on 52nd Avenue would still be possible from 95th Street, adding about 0.3 miles to the commute of any area residents.
“I originally voted to approve the Metra parking structure with the understanding that traffic would not flow into the residential neighborhood,” Trustee Robert Streit told the Leaf. The parking structure and streets in question are part of District 3, represented by Streit. “I am hopeful that this traffic rerouting plan will solve a problem for the residents, reducing dangerous traffic on their side streets.”